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CMS Eases Medicaid Procedures for Victims of Katrina

  • September 9th, 2005

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it is easing some normal operating procedures for Medicaid to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The new procedures are designed to provide speedy health care coverage for the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities who have been displaced by the storm.

Because hospitals treating evacuees may not have access to a patient's health care records or verification of Medicare or Medicaid status, CMS is waiving the normal documentation requirements. Patients displaced because of Katrina will be presumed eligible for Medicaid. Other actions being taken by CMS to help victims of Katrina include:

  • insuring that health care providers who can't comply with normal program requirements because of Katrina will still be paid for services,
  • reimbursing facilities that provide kidney dialysis in alternative settings,
  • waiving normal prior authorization and out-of-network requirements, and
  • allowing hospitals to be flexible about using beds that were dedicated for other uses for patients admitted during the crisis.

Meanwhile, other help may be on the way according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. The Social Security Administration announced that it was waiving rules requiring people to provide identification to cash their benefit checks. And advocates are urging the federal government to do more. States have asked the government to pick up the entire Medicaid cost in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. CMS administrator, Mark B. McClellan, has said that new Medicaid waivers may be needed to meet the longer-term needs of people who were displaced.

CMS has a section on its Web site devoted to Hurricane Katrina with much information about relief actitivies. To visit the Web site, click here.

For more information on the easing of Medicaid procedures, click here.

For the Los Angeles Times article, click here.

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Mindy Felinton

Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers
Rockville, MD

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Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
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John Laster

Law Offices of John L. Laster
Falls Church, VA

Last Modified: 09/09/2005

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